Am I really going to write this?

ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!

Each time this topic has fluttered close to being brought up, I’ve shut it down. Each time the discussions and opinions have flown back and forth, I’ve steered clear. Each time a friend has expressed an opinion either way, I’ve ducked out of saying anything meaningful, or changed the subject, or been non-committal. Each time, I’ve effectively managed to limit my contact with it to as close to zero as possible. And now I’m taking it on.

Abortion.

Abort Abort Abort - summat2thinkon.wordpress.com

A pause; to wrinkle noses, settle the emotional hard-hats, and decide to read forth (or click the red ‘x’ and leave me to it…whichever suits, and believe me, I get it; I’ve done it).

A disclaimer; this is being written as the thoughts rocket around my mind. It’s NOT a manifesto. It’s NOT a completed set of thoughts. It’s NOT (I hope!) preachy. It’s simply me, here, using my own words and your feedback, trying to figure out what I think about this – what I believe at the core. Mostly because it’s a topic which has held me conflicted since I knew it was a thing.

I’ve been brought up to believe that life is a precious sanctity of a thing, not to be taken (or wasted) lightly. I was also raised to believe that taking a life (your own or someone else’s) is completely abhorrent. Culturally, there’s no good answer to ‘when does life begin’, because different cultures across the world bestow ‘humanness/personhood’ (and so worth) at different points on the timeline of a life. Science holds that a fertilised egg is a human being in its earliest form, so I’ve kind of always gone with that; and with that moment comes the bestowing of sanctity and preciousness (to my mind).

As to weighing the value of different lives (good person vs bad; disabled person vs able bodied; employed person vs unemployable; mother vs unborn child)…I strongly believe that each person is a unique, innately valuable individual, just for being them. Their life is worth something (otherwise we wouldn’t sanction the taking of lives, or have laws in place to protect them). Admittedly laws aren’t always right, and the worldwide laws on abortion are conflicting and at best, very messy…but the general spirit of the law is life MATTERS.

[Side notes – I’m glad I don’t have to be the judge of how MUCH someone’s life matters; I also think there’s a difference between valuing each person for their innate humanness (and so worth), and what I/we/society think(s) of the way they behave.]

Consequently my views have mostly been that I think abortion is a horrible thing and shouldn’t be done. Contraception exists, and if accidents happen or people are too careless or hasty to behave responsibly then they should shoulder the consequences. The idea of abortion as a convenient method of dealing with ‘products of conception’ remains utterly reprehensible to me. And there’s always adoption, right?*

What about rape? What about accidents? What about the woman already stretched to breaking point? What about people who really truly know no different? What about COMPASSION, good grief, it’s meant to be one of the things I’m all FOR. But what about compassion for the unborn? It’s not their fault they were conceived – it wasn’t their will that brought them into existence. Now with as little choice in the matter their lives are snuffed out, in some cases due to the inconvenience of their birth and care! What of their option to exist?

I’ve never had a good answer to these kinds of questions. Ever. I’m not sure I still ever will; at least, not a complete answer.

The things I’ve learned over time (and it’s possible I should try to apply them in a more wholesale manner, having learned them in pieces) are these:

  • MOST women do not seem to consider abortion unless it’s a last resort kind of thing, and the circumstances which surround the ‘getting to’ that point are usually pretty dire and impossible to manage.
  • ALL women lose something when they do it, and this affects them in profoundly different ways.
  • Whatever the prospected quality or quantity of that unborn life, it is ended there and then, and this MATTERS.
  • The inability to access safe methods of abortion puts the women who seek it, in danger, and THAT MATTERS TOO.
  • Being judged and shamed and humiliated when trying to access safe methods of abortion, is HORRIFIC! I can in no way imagine that in these cases, the rent-a-mob who try to bully people away from these services do anything but more damage to a woman in an already terribly vulnerable state**
  • There is not, not, NOT enough of a comprehensive curriculum when it comes to sex ed in schools. Or anywhere. I’ve never heard of a programme that goes into the possible emotional/financial/familial/life-impacting consequences of sex.

Added to which, if I consider that there have ALWAYS been people taking each other’s lives in one manner or another, there have probably ALWAYS been (worse, more dangerous) ways for women to dispose of unwanted pregnancies/babies. In fact, in general, historically speaking, women and children have come off worst…all I can conclude is that things need to change.

For the BETTER.

So much for the better. For better education and awareness from a pre-sex age. For better education and awareness for those in a having-sex age. For higher value on life, pre-it, and when it’s here already. For better access to contraception. For better instillation of that worth and value in women and girls so that they don’t end up sleeping with men for the wrong reasons and getting knocked up. For better discussions around this subject and all the offshoots so that clarity can replace taboo, and respect and compassion can replace judgement and ostracisation.

And yes, for better access to safe, clean facilities, with compassionate staff, who can treat a girl/woman with respect and good medical care when she’s come to the point where abortion is what she feels is necessary. And preferably the offer of non-judgemental counselling afterwards, to help her figure out what she feels about it all, and carry on.

Because I’ve never been in the position where I’ve felt I’ve needed an abortion. Because I know and love people who’ve been in that position. Because I suspect lots of women/girls in that position have people who know and love them, and if life is to be lost (and it will be, whether safely or unsafely, whether through her free will or under duress) I would rather there were not Two Lost Children***.

Because as much as I am (and always have been) pro, pro, pro LIFE, I’ve also come to realise that there is no good answer to the subject of abortion, and it’s always going to be awful and agonising and used to fight battles, and in the midst of that there are PEOPLE. Female people. Sisters. Daughters. Friends. Who somehow end up in that end-point of considering…and we who aren’t in their shoes, are left to abandon them or support them as best we can.

They’ve made THEIR choice, whatever the whys and wherefores of it. We can offer our input if they’ll have it, but we don’t have the right or ability to take that choice from them. We CAN help and hope that in that choice, they’re as safe as possible. We CAN take action to make that difference, for love, for compassion, for them.

It MATTERS.

 

It also matters to me that if I’m wrong, or if there are ways I’m being utterly ignorant, I get educated and carry on. I’d also like to know if you think I’m on the right track, seeing as so much of my formulation of thought seems to involve input from people in this here Blogosphere I consider very much more evolved in their thinking than I am, so PLEASE do let me know where you stand on this.

P.S. I know it’s a tough subject. I’m sorry if it’s upset you, but not surpised, because it’s an upsetting thing. I hope that whatever’s said can be from a place of reaching understanding rather than reacting from a place of anger.

P.P.S. I *know* I don’t owe anyone my thoughts and didn’t need to write this or indeed share it once I had, but for the reasons stated, it’s helping me form my thoughts on the matter, which are still ‘in progress’. I think ‘in progress’ is a good place and I’m happy to continue progressing.

*The thing with “there’s always adoption” is it’s terrifically, horrifyingly naive to try to suggest it as a simple answer. It’s not. At all. Even. And that’s a whole other kettle of fish, and something I want to write about someday, but not this day.

**There is ONE service I have heard of – Save the Storks – which NON-JUDGEMENTALLY offers women the opportunity to have an ultrasound on one of their vans, prior to seeking an abortion. They also offer transport to hospitals. And support prior to and after the birth. Allegedly a number of women, on seeing their baby alive and kicking, change their minds. I don’t think this is a bully tactic, but perhaps an opportunity to engage with the immenseness of what they’re considering, and in some cases (as I’ve read), the first opportunity for the woman to really understand what’s going on inside her body. Placards of body parts ARE bully tactics, and whilst TRUE, are not KIND or NECESSARY.

***This heartbreaking piece by my friend Mary McLaurine, profoundly influenced my thoughts on abortion, and helped me to crystallise a few of the more ‘pro-choice’ leanings into something which is more of an understanding I am prepared to go with.

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93 thoughts on “Am I really going to write this?

      • Thank you. I have to be honest because it’s just very real to me. All the things you said are things I wish I had access to when it happened to me. It’s a terrible place to be. Especially , when young and it’s the worst case scenario. I can’t go back in time. I can say Thank You for writing about this in a compassionate way that does consider the variables. If more people did that I feel like things would change. Sometimes what is needed is access to compassion in general. You’ve given that in what you wrote.

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        • Ugh, I’m sorry you had to face this situation 😦 It’s such a messy one and I sometimes think there are really NO good ways out of it (except not to get into it in the first place and that’s for many reasons SO much easier said than done). I do wish people would consider more variables and more of a mixture.

          I know it’s easy to get really emotional about this – I do, I lost babies to miscarriage, and for a LONG time I was horrendously angry that anyone could do something as wicked as kill off a baby someone else might be desperate for…but I was just thinking of myself and not other people at all…I see that now.

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          • Me too. Mine is an interconnected web of madness that honestly couldn’t be avoided. It impacted everything including my ability to have children . The fact that I did have these two great boys after such a web of hell I endured all related to that one thing is why I encourage this dialogue. I would never want anyone to experience what I did. I wish that everyone had a life line directly to compassion and understanding . Communicating seemed impossible at that time. It’s a different world now . Now I feel like obviously hindsight is 20/20. Yet, I can’t help but believe I survived what I did so that my experience might help someone else. That is the silver lining. The only one I can grasp at. It’s there so I’m grabbing it.

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            • *hugs* You came through a really, really awful thing and I’m so impressed that you’re using it to reach out to others and in hope that your hell might be someone else’s ‘get out’ ticket, somehow. That you’re open to talking about it and sharing, that you want to be part of conversations…that’s HUGE. Massive, massive silver lining and good for you for choosing it.

              I don’t think ‘all things happen for a reason’ (well, other than because consequences…) but I do think that we can learn from everything and hopefully find ways to put our learning to good use if we choose to 🙂

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          • I’m so sorry to hear that you suffered such painful losses. I would never dare say I know how you feel despite having shared similar losses. It’s impossible to know how someone else feels in any situation regardless of what’s similar but I do understand the complexity of the pain. I want to tell you that I hate that you suffered such losses and I am thankful you are able to share it so others know they are not alone . That kind of loss never leaves . I find it creeping up on me . What helps is knowing that regardless of how isolated I may have felt , even when my husband endured the loss as well I never felt like it was the same for him as it was for me. I know now it’s something I could compare . ❤️

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            • No. I feel the same – for my ex, it was a TOTALLY different kettle of fish. He mourned the loss of potential. I mourned the loss of…everything.

              STILL! Time and understanding make us wiser, and I’m now in the position of feeling I really, truly dodged bullets there.

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    • LOL Thanks my lovely friend, and…I just think it needs to be the safest possible for the people making the choice. And I do think they need to be able to make it safely and in full knowedge of the facts.

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    • Thank you so much. It’s a topic which has always preyed on me, as I *thought* I was just ‘Pro-Life’ because that’s what seemed to be most right…but there were holes in that, inconsistencies which didn’t match up to what I’d want for a friend or relative in the situation that they were facing abortion…thank goodness I learned to understand the compromise, and that pro-choice doesn’t equate to pro-abortion! Ugh. Such a messy topic though, and one with so many other things tangled into it.

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  1. There is so much I could say…want to say…but to put it all into words in a blog comment is beyond me.You know I’m 100% pro-life, womb to tomb as they say. It is a complex, emotional topic that is far from easy. But as Mother Theresa (now Saint!) always said, you help people one at a time. This is not a problem to be solved in the general. It is done one at a time, with love and compassion.

    There is one thing I want to point out, though…

    Your point towards the end where you highlight the ONE organization that NON-JUDGMENTALLY helps women…There are thousands of “crisis pregnancy centers” across the US that do just that. And they help way beyond the pregnancy. They provide support groups, clothing, household items, information…all sorts of things to help them in any way they can help, for months and months before and after the birth. From there, other services are available to continue the support. There is compassion and love given freely to all who enter. No horrible photos. No screaming. No judgment. The place I volunteer is one of them. It is a service of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis that was started over 100 years ago. For an example of a national organization, go here: http://womenscarecenterfoundation.org/.

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    • Ahhh that’s brilliant. I’m so glad there are so many more! I only KNOW of one, but I think a lot of that is to do with my not being in the culture where this is so much more of a topic that gets bandied around and riled up about.

      I’m glad Mother Theresa got sainted. I saw that, and it’s AWESOME. I also think you’re right – this isn’t an issue which can be resolved generally, but on a case-by-case basis, with support for individual women/girls as they need it. For me, that has to include a safe, clean place for them to abort, if that’s the decision they sadly come to.

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  2. It has been my observation and experience over the past 25 years that abortion and racism are the two most prominent subjects that people who do not know each other very well are unlikely to be able to discuss in any way, without getting angry, talking past each other, and ceasing to listen. Your views are thoughtful, well stated, and not one-sidedly tendentious. Because I’m neither pregnant nor a provider of medical services, it’s a subject I won’t touch, no matter how well-informed my views may be. There’s already too much anger in this world for me.

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    • I think what you say is very likely true, and both topics seem to degenerate rapidly into point-scoring and defensiveness. I can understand your reticence in sharing your views. I only shared mine because writing my thoughts helps me form them and clarify them, and getting feedback helps me know I’m not thinking along totally the wrong lines. I would always rather stand corrected than be an asshole 🙂 I’m lucky to have people here who have given such helpful and respectful feedback 🙂

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  3. Just at this moment my nephew starts junior kindergarten and the new sex education curriculum is being launched for the local school system. Many parents switched their children to another because they didn’t approve. To be clear, no sex ed to jk children like my nephew, but within a few years he will be taught about boundaries and other things, working up to more sensitive topics which are much more age appropriate. It starts young, though we would like to think it shouldn’t.
    This topic is so so tangled up in people’s hearts, minds, and souls. Religion. Education. Compassion. But it doesn’t stop there. Politics and of course science.
    I come from a bit of a perspective of hating the choices people make, to get themselves in certain situations, but it shouldn’t go as far as hate for the people who make those decisions, deemed right or wrong.
    I was raised with the belief of God, but so much of organized religion I see is all about black and white. I don’t see in the usual way and never have. I don’t see how anyone can truly be so critical. What sets people up to make some lousy decisions sometimes? It is often a cycle and it feels like nobody learns their lesson, but I can’t believe girls and women take abortion so lightly that they think it’s such a simple option. However, I have probably been somewhat sheltered when the world isn’t how I wish to see it in my mind’s eye. Not that I have all the answers either.
    My experience personally is seeing someone struggle to have a baby they so desperately want. To hear that babies are being aborted can touch a nerve, but also I cringe at the life many babies are born into.
    It’s just so unfair that women are the ones who suffer most and are at the centre of all the bickering religiously and politically, shamed and bullied. I wish we women, as a gender, weren’t the ones who suffer most, but that’s how it is.
    I don’t know the answer to when life truly begins. I go back and forth on that and have no earthly clue how I would personally face such a decision if it were happening to me. All I can do is offer more compassion and less black or white.
    Glad to see comments are so balanced here though. This whole thing gets heated and fast. Well done.

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    • It’s certainly a rough topic to broach, and why I stayed away from it for so long. I’m glad though, because it gave me a chance to change my mind in a few ways – I think (like you) it’s a case of having compassion for women/girls in that situation, regardless of our opinion of the way they ended up in it. I’m afraid there are lots of women who use abortion as contraception, and that attitude is one which is utterly beyond me to comprehend, and which hurts my heart. But again, it’s not my choice and I’d still rather they were safe.

      I think starting sex education at kindergarten is a GREAT idea. I wonder if it needs a less emotive term though. Teaching little kids about things like boundaries and consent and appropriateness can start from the time they can move their bodies around and understand the difference between themselves and other people, and I think it’s absolutely VITAL to do so. Such a shame that so many parents pulled their kids out of that school 😦

      It’s a hugely tangled topic, and the clearer it is from the offset, the better, in my opinion.

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  4. I’m pro-choice — and have always been. I’m grateful that abortion was legal and available when I needed mine (and I’ve had more than one). Coming from a highly religious background, with almost certain societal and familial shunning and financial support withdrawn if were it disclosed that I had an unplanned pregnancy from out of wedlock “sinful” relations, and being a very young adult at the time, I made the choice that was the safest for me. And I have always been thankful it was an option and I have never felt that I made the wrong decision for my circumstances at the time. In an unrealistically perfect world, if sexuality was discussed without judgement or agenda, if women were not made to feel guilty or dirty or bad for having sexual desires (and acting on them), if children and teens were educated about sex and could speak to their parents about their sexual questions, if everyone who didn’t want a baby was on birth control, if that birth control never ever failed, and there was no such thing as sexual abuse or rape, then maybe there would not be a need for abortion. But that world is not our world – and, in my opinion, no one should be forced to have a child to satisfy anyone else’s moral judgement, beliefs, or dictates.

    I had church elders tell me that I would never be forgiven and would certainly go to hell for my “sins”. I was kicked out of my church as a very young adult. I learned to never talk about my abortions or face certain judgement and condemnation from those who have never been in my shoes, but feel morally superior to me. It wasn’t until many years later, when my children began to ask questions about sex, that I decided I was done being fearful of what others might think of me. My kids know I’ve had abortions and why. I talked to my mother about it when she kept begging me to return to the church so that I could be saved. To her credit, while she was devastated, it was more because she felt sad that I had to go through the situations on my own, with no support. When people tell me that all women who have had abortions deeply regret their actions and are damaged emotionally as a result, I don’t hesitate to let them know that they do cannot and do not speak for “all women” in that situation.

    Nor do I speak for “all women” who have had abortions. I can only talk about my experiences and feelings — and in my case, I have no regrets. It was my right, it was necessary for my situation at the time, and allowed me to make the decision of when to give birth — which was when I was ready — emotionally and financially — to be an excellent mother to my kids.

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    • I’m so sorry you experienced such condemnation and outright rudeness from people in your church. I think it’s outrageous (but understandable, given how narrow-minded religion can sometimes make people) that it happened.

      That your mom was upset you went through those experiences on your own, I suppose speaks to the relationship there, and I guess in the perfect world you speak of, no daughter would be afraid to go to her mom and say that she had an unplanned pregnancy and needed support. You’re right though, it’s not our world, and we have to deal with so much brokenness.

      I’m glad you were able to be safe though, in spite of being alone, and I’m glad you were able to discuss the matters with your children, and have frank conversations with them. I really think that’s what’s missing a LOT of the time – youngsters really don’t have enough information before they go out and start trying sex.

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  5. You have definitely sparked some deep discussion here and – as someone else already said – there is great evidence of your growth as a human. We all need to remember that growth is a necessary and (should be) constant process throughout our lives.
    I think the thing that bothers me most about this topic is that it is steeped in ignorance, in so many cases. Pro-choice does not necessarily equal pro-abortion and if people would wrap their heads around that, the conversations would be more intelligent. There are also just as many opinions as there are human beings that are misinformed and inflammatory. THAT is where the problem with the debate lies. *steps quickly off soapbox before going totally off on a tangent*
    I will say this for certain – no matter what any of us believes or supports, we have to be rational enough to realize that whether illegal or not, abortions will happen, as they have for many generations. We have a responsibility to make certain that we don’t have scenarios in place that forces people into making rash and harmful decisions and a responsibility to accept that it is far from a simple discussion. There is no black and white here – it is ALL shades of gray.

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    • I do think education is absolutely KEY to this, and there’s not enough of that about. I would consider myself to have been vastly under-educated about the whole matter, and I think that’s been where my problem has been – I didn’t understand the nuance of how pro-choice didn’t necessarily equate to pro-abortion, and that’s a HUGE difference.

      I think because it’s such an emotive subject, it’s easy for people to take sides, and misinformation is easy to fling when it degenerates into point-scoring rather than actual discussion, which is a huge shame. I think it’s wonderful how everyone here, all with their different opinions, has managed to have awesome, respectful conversations about it, and I think most of us have a similarish outlook – that life MATTERS, but also choice, too.

      I just wish there was more information out there for people…there’s not enough of that.

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  6. I don’t know if you saw my post on Facebook the other day, but it suggested that while I would never, I certainly understand that there are people who need to. It’s called pro CHOICE for a reason. I’m on the side of I’ll do what’s good for me and you get to chose what works for you.

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    • I *did* see that post, and I’ve seen it a couple of times, and each time it’s made me think that I must MUST be on the side of choice…because in that moment, it’s not MY choice. That post and Mary’s article are really what swayed me hugely and made me feel there WAS a middle ground here. I’m absolutely pro-life, but also pro-choice, because the choice isn’t mine.

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  7. Have you been called brave enough times? I think not: you are brave. It is a hard subject for anyone to wrestle with especially when we let religion sway our decisions. I am Pro-Choice and always have been, and when I say that, I mean all the way back to middle school when I learned what this subject was about. Roe vs. Wade had only recently been decided then and was still being talked about (sometimes in hushed tones.) I cannot tell you what my decision would have been if I had been in a situation of needing to contemplate an abortion and luckily enough, I never had to make that choice. I did have two friends who had to make that decision, one (a high school senior who had been using the pill) decided to have the abortion and the other (a college sophomore who wasn’t using birth control,) decided to go through with the pregnancy and keep her baby. Neither regretted their choice. And that’s the key, it was their choice, based on their circumstances at that time. As you figured out, it’s not a black and white decision and being Pro-Life doesn’t mean you are anti-choice.

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    • I think part of the problem was that I always considered the two to be mutually exclusive, in which case for my conscience, I *had* to come down on the side of being pro-life…but…that left gaps which were unacceptable, and I’m so glad I got to the place I’m at now.

      I think (having lived more) I have a greater understanding, albeit second-hand, of some of the situations women find themselves in where they might be contemplating abortion. In those instances if there is no choice but to keep the baby or suffer a back-alley abortion (or worse), it’s really no choice at all, and certainly not safe.

      I think I still don’t know enough about Roe vs Wade, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read suggestions which call it spurious, legally, and I don’t feel qualified to know the difference.

      Thanks for thinking this brave, though, and thank you for being part of the conversations. I’m glad both your friends were settled with their choices 🙂 That’s good.

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  8. Good for you for being willing to wade into a difficult topic and raising lots of questions rather than just spouting answers. As for me, I am 100% against abortion and have written and spoken on the topic for many years–in fact my blog arose from the column I used to write on life issues in the local Catholic paper. I’m a strong believer in the “seamless garment” theory–that life is sacred “from the womb to the tomb” and must be treated accordingly. Obviously, this includes compassion and assistance to anyone dealing with a crisis pregnancy.

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    • Hi Leslie, and thanks so much for thinking I wrote it well. I think this is the kind of subject which always raises questions, and I don’t think there are any good ‘catch-all’ answers to it.

      I firmly believe that life is sacred from conception to death, BUT, given it’s not my choice to make (and however much I lament the options which result in loss of life) I can only opt for that which gives the best care, protection, and education to the women who *are* making that choice.

      On another note, I wish there was MORE support out there for women dealing with crisis pregnancies, which supported them to birth and beyond.

      I’m glad you write about the topic as well – the more light that’s shed on it, the better!

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  9. This is a very hard subject. But from point of view of someone who lives in a developing nation where abortion is illegal: we so often hear and read about newborns dumped in riverbed or dustbin. Rape and domestic violence is of the highest rated crimes here. Most go unreported because the victim and her family are dependent on the perpetrator who often thinks it is his right to have sex with a young woman and often minor child because he feeds her. The parents won’t report the crime because then they are left to starve. Now if this was your circumstances, how can I even judge a girl for baby dumping? I’d think in such instances Abortion would be more humane for the baby too. I just can’t imagine a defenseless newborn left out in the cold to die. What a horrible way to die. This entire subject just wants to make me cry. I’m generally pro life too, but seriously we live in a cold and heartless world, where woman have become “blessees” and men think they can do what ever they want because of it. Government advocates for circumcision as a method to protect the nation from HIV, because distribution of free condoms has proved un-efficient. I could go on and on here, but generally I think that abortion should be legalized and become safe for women who may have no other options. At the end of the day, who am I to judge another before not standing in their shoes?

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    • Circumcision isn’t related to HIV, that I know of. But it sounds like there is SO MUCH in your country that needs fixing, and fundamentally, the education and ATTITUDE of people towards one another. I’m sure that (largely speaking) the attitudes are much as they always have been but that doesn’t make them any more palatable OR acceptable, and I’m so sorry you have to live with that so close. I’m so sorry ANYONE has to live with that so close. Or be part of it.

      It sounds like feminism has a long way to go there, and I hope it DOES begin to take hold and change things. Women need to begin to be treated as equally valuable, and there’s a huge heritage of inequality to be overcome before baby-dumping becomes a thing of the past 😦

      I think your attitude is spot on, and I wish there were ways to help more people there come round to your way of thinking.

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  10. Wow…you took on a heavy subject here. My instinctive stance on it has always been that the life which is *aware* that it’s a life should take precedence, which would mean the person carrying the pregnancy. Babies don’t get a sense of themselves as being individuals until quite a while after they’re born, whereas human adults can both experience pain and ascribe it to a self, if that makes sense.

    This was a brave post – kudos for tackling the issue.

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    • See, that’s a thought I followed, but there are adults who aren’t really *aware* in that way, and I can’t undermine their validity in having life. Also, science evolves with research – it used to be the case that doctors didn’t use anaesthetic on newborns when they needed surgery, because they assumed they couldn’t feel pain. They would paralyse them with curare so they could operate, and wondered why there was such a high post-surgical mortality rate. To us, now, that seems barbaric, but at the time it was taken as given. I’m not prepared to stake my stance on an assumed lack of any ‘sense’. I also don’t think I can ascribe to a feeling of individuality as being what makes a person more worthwhile, just because I know in other circumstances, that still wouldn’t fly, I don’t think.

      Really heavy subject though, and not easy to tackle at all. I’m grateful to have had such considerate and respectful feedback from everyone 🙂

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  11. I thought your post was beautifully written Lizzi. I’ve always been steadfastly pro-choice (having worked with hundreds of kids who suffered at the hands of incapable parents), but I agree that it is used far too often almost as an alternative to contraception. As someone who has never been pregnant and always extra careful about avoiding being in that situation, I can’t imagine having to make such a monumental decision…

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    • Thanks so much Suzie! And yes…I know what you mean. To see the impact on children of inept care, or outright abuse, is awful, and on that basis alone, I can see the option for abortion being a ‘desirable’ one…but I also think that in many cases, in those situations, it’s not considered. I certainly know a few of those, which sucks.

      In the end, I really truly think SO much more good could be achieved if sex education was more comprehensive and widespread.

      Like

  12. Having experienced pregnancy loss, given up a baby for adoption, having a child that I kept, and abortion (not in that order), all I will say is that we are steeped in values and beliefs from the moment we enter the world. How we feel about abortion is a direct reflection of how we are taught. As much as I have never regretted the abortion I had, because for me at that time it was the right decision, if I were to become pregnant now, abortion would not be an option. No matter the reason, no woman makes the decision lightly, and safe access to care always needs to be available. I would never be so egotistical as to dictate to another woman how she should handle her body. I just wrote about this topic a short time ago. https://mypeacenow.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/abortion-a-spiritual-perspective/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Forgive me for not first saying Lizzy, that this piece was beautifully written, heart-felt, and with lots of consideration. I am so very sorry for your pregnancy losses. Abortion will always be a very complex topic, and because it deals with life and death, brings up strong feelings and beliefs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re right – we’re saturated with other people’s ideas and it can take a long time to move them around and examine them before being in a position to fashion our own thoughts on the subject, and even then, they evolve. I think you’re right that the way people feel about abortion (as with so many of the ‘trigger’ issues) is a reflection of what they were taught before they knew different, but I also think that as we become independent thinkers, we have a responsibility to question our values and see if they match up with what we feel at our core. I think that’s ALSO a skill which should be taught! Going to read your piece now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You’re getting great feedback, and for this, I am very happy (even sparkly? no, not sparkly but as close as I get) to being really happy for you for that. You know what I think. I don’t even want to say in these comments other than to say that to feel true empathy for ANYBODY, you HAVE to be pro-choice because the choice is the most complicated part, although the argument of life is even more so, I know. That’s it. The “pro-life” argument is failed already because it only takes into account the life of the unborn, and that’s not inclusive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the pro-life argument would be a lot more persuasive if there were mechanisms in place to really offer the support needed, in a sustained manner. I guess my problem with it is that if it’s someone else’s choice then it’s not a choice at all, and that’s just unconscionable.

      The choice is not something I want to have to face, and I know it’s probably not one people ever want to face, or consider they’d have to. But life happens and the unexpected is unanticipatable.

      I’m glad you’re semi-sparkly. I like that, and I’m very grateful for your assistance in making it something worth giving good feedback to ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Kudos to you, Lizzie, for addressing this polarizing subject so thoroughly and so perfectly. Personally, I am pro-life but I am also anti-judgement and pro-compassion. You have put into words exactly what is in my heart. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Mo. It’s one which has been nagging at the edges of my brain to write out for ages and ages, and I finally came to a point where I thought my thoughts were worth getting out. I think a lot of people will share our viewpoint, and I wish there was a straightforward way to effect that in society.

      Like

  15. Difficult subject? That’s a monumental understatement, Lizzi. At least on this side of the water (USA) the whole subject is so entangled with other issues and agendas from all sides that there seems no possibility of a general consensus on any part of the matter, a toxic mix of religion, politics, and philosophy in which even basic facts of biology and physiology and embryology cannot be agreed upon. For my part, I do wish no woman or girl, no family would ever feel a need to make the decision to abort a pregnancy. But, some will, for a great variety of reasons and circumstances. If it is going to be done, it must be private, safe, and without shaming, and with all the alternatives available and the woman given every possible support, whatever the decision. Who makes that decision? The pregnant woman must decide, given all the relevant information. Ultimately, it is her uterus. It will be she and no other undergoing the procedure. It is she who will, or will not, experience whatever medical consequences may come of it and whatever emotional consequences as well. We all make irrevocable decisions in life, and this is one of them. So is the decision to give up a child to adoption equally momentous. The real path to the least number of abortions does go the way of education and availability of effective contraception regardless of economic and social status. —— Lizzi, you got a rant out of me. Thank you for taking the plunge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Heheh I LIKE your rant, Bob, it’s so very much what I think, and very, very worth saying. I know it’s a far more tangled and emotive topic in the US, because it seems to be muddled into so many other emotive things, but I think what it boils down to in the end, is best possible care for the people who have the responsibility of that choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Dearest of Lizzi’s. Thank you for your bravery. I’ve been wrestling with writing about this for months, one of the many half-written drafts I intend to come back to.

    As a Christian, I’ve come to believe that there is a difference between being pro-choice and pro-abortion. And that being pro-life isn’t always good enough if you just want babies born, but aren’t willing to support the mothers who keep their babies despite their situation.

    I also believe that just because people CAN procreate doesn’t mean that they will be a good parent. I also wish that adoption and sex ed and birth control and affordable maternity/paternity leave was much more accessible worldwide.

    As a privileged woman living in Canada, I find myself (guiltfully) thankful that I had access to an abortifacient pill after my miscarriage failed to complete itself 2 years ago. As I prepare myself to give birth any day now, I am both scared and excited to teach my son the right way to treat women and sex, and to have compassion for all situations.

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts here too. I’m not feeling brave enough to start THAT fire on my blog yet. 💟

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lovely lady, I am all too glad that you felt able to share this space and join in the conversation here. I would still term myself a Christian (though I’m not entirely sure whether Christ would agree, so there’s that) and I have been through all of the back-and-forth mental struggles on this topic, and in the end, I think the only thing it’s possible for me to be is pro-choice, because the choice which ends the life isn’t mine to make, but the choice which helps at least ONE life to be safer, IS.

      As to people procreating who aren’t fit to be within a mile of a child…that happens all too often, and it’s a crying shame. It’s also a great pity that so many people who would be AWESOME parents just can’t be. Broken world, is all I can come back to on that one, because it hurts. I see it. I’ve lived it. I’m living it. It sucks.

      I think you’re right about the care and support being needed in an ongoing sense, rather than just at the point of not terminating the baby. It needs to be sustainable, and where it’s not…I suppose there’s an argument for better charity or keeping quiet.

      I’m glad you’ve been able to access the care you’ve needed. I’m even gladder to know you’re going to be a great mom, and you’re going to raise a son who will be equipped with all the knowledge and ability he needs to approach these matters with mindfulness and respect 🙂

      You’re awesome ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love your open-minded approach to this horribly difficult subject. I’m also really happy my piece helped you in some way. Obviously, my story didn’t end the way I wrote it but the rest of it is all true. I was brought up Roman Catholic and although I left the church and the teachings of Catholicism when I was quite young, I still struggle with the decision we had to make given the incredible brainwashing job the Catholics do, particularly decades ago when I was in school. We were both so young and unfortunately between hormones and my need to feel loved, we were careless. Regardless of religious beliefs, or lack thereof, I can’t imagine there are very many women or girls who leave the procedure unchanged.

    Another reality you touch on is the need for education and sadly, many parents will not discuss sex with their children and those that will start far too late sometimes. Statistics show kids, children, are having sex at such young ages now, far younger than I was when I got pregnant. Many do not want any sort of sex education taught for myriad reasons but we all know, it’s human nature, this sex thing. and children are going to find out and experiment one way or another. Why not arm them with the information they need?

    To me, it’s one of those subject matters we just have to wrangle in our own way and as you point out so lovingly is that it must be discussed with respect, understanding and compassion. We don’t know the lives of others and in the end, it really ends up between the woman and whoever she believes her God to be, or if she doesn’t believe in a God, something she has to come to terms with on her own.

    Great post, as always and thank goodness for people like you who come from a place of love, always willing to consider the opinions and feelings of others. Love you madly and thank you so much for tackling this most difficult of subjects with an open heart and mind. xoxoxoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love you huge, huge, HUGE, Mary, and thank you for writing YOUR post, which helped to crystallise some of my thoughts. They needed it, because so many of them were too stuck in the ‘it’s absolutely wrong’ bracket and I couldn’t see past that to the compassion and care which needs to be extended to women/girls who face it. Or have faced it. And really, that’s an indictment of religious teaching, that compassion and love should be so lost.

      I think you’re right that it’s a subject we all have to grapple with at some point or another, and I think it’s been uppermost in some people’s minds as the election campaigns have been bandying around their support or condemnation, and in that, again, the individuals have gotten lost.

      I definitely, HUGELY believe that there is a desperate need for more comprehensive sex education, for girls and boys, at an earlier age. Like you say – they’re going to experiment – why not arm them with information!

      I think what you did then was very brave, given all your circumstances and the things you’d been taught, and how young you were at the time. I also think it was really brave to write about it and risk backlash. I hope you make peace with your God about it…I think that’s an important point of healing and being able to continue life, and I’m so glad yours has continued in such an open way, and that I can learn so much from you.

      You’re wonderful ❤

      Like

  18. I’ve never had an unplanned pregnancy, but did lose one pregnancy in my first trimester. Knowing that such “spontaneous abortions” (miscarriages) are common, I did not deeply grieve. For some unknown reason, my husband and I believed that the embryo (very early pregnancy) was female. We named her Colleen and had a makeshift ceremony in the bathroom where we said our goodbyes before we flushed. I did not pause to get pregnant again, for I was in my mid-30’s, was pregnant two weeks later, and that pregnancy stuck. He’s 16 now. Offering this only to point out that, although we did say a simple goodbye, I was not, nor am I now, deeply pained by the loss. Pregnancy, life, is not only precious, it is uncertain. 1 out of 4 pregnancies are lost spontaneously in the first trimester, many without a woman’s knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I lost two in the very early weeks, and they were most desperately wanted and deeply grieved, in spite of the knowledge of statistics. I think people’s circumstances around these happenings are so different, and their perspectives too, that possibly no two women will have the same experience, but it’s still something that matters.

      I’m glad you had your little simple goodbye. Colleen is a nice name. Mine were Jesse and Sam. I’m also glad your next one stuck. And I’m (now) glad neither of mine did. So it’s a funny old world, innit 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • That we experience pregnancy and loss differently is key. I know your story of infertility and pregnancy losses and realize that the experience was deeply painful for you at that time. It helped me that I got pregnant two weeks after my miscarriage. I was in a hurry due to my age.

        By the way, I’m absolutely thrilled with how you’ve blossomed since I first met you online. You are incredibly sexy. You rock. No doubt you are the best aunt ever and the best Hasty-kid adult friend ever.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, and I think as such we all need to be approached and supported on a case by case basis…and in that case the options for safe medical care really NEED to be in place, I think.

          I’m glad you were able to get pregnant so quickly. The pressure of a timescale is NOT fun!

          And…wow…thank you so much! I know I’ve changed a lot, and I hope mostly for the better. I feel much more able now, than I was, and I’m DEFINITELY in a better personal situation 😀 Thank you for saying such lovely things. And I do adore Hastykid ❤

          As to auntying…I have big shoes to fill – I am learning my best from WonderAunty, and she seems to think I'm doing alright 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s a brave subject to tackle publicly and one that needs to be brought out into the open. I’m absolutely pro-life…but that doesn’t mean I have any easy answers. I’m not convinced there can be any.

    I’ve known women/girls in situations where abortion was the only safe answer, either for their mental or physical wellneing. I’ve seen the devastation caused by the loss of much-wanted babies through miscarriage as well as the medically advised loss of a child through medically advised abortion.The heartbreak goes nowhere in those cases.

    I have also known far too many young women recently using abortion as a form of last-minute contraception and worry that so many of them are in happy, stable long-term relationships, yet still feel abortion is an acceptable choice.

    But what do I know? I do not know what is behind their reasoning, what problems they face that I cannot see or why they feel this is the best option. I have no right to judge. I also know my opinions might be different had I been in their shoes or fallen pregnant when I myself was a victim.

    From a purely personal perspective…while I dislike the idea of taking the life of an unborn child, I recognise the necessity for abortion in many cases and wish that it was available as a safe option to all those who need it, without fear, shame or bullying either way. I don’t think there can be a blanket ruling or ultimate answer and every case should be taken on its own need.

    From a more abstract perspective, I believe that every life has value and it may be that even these short, unborn life may teach.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I think part of what I was thinking in that ‘every woman loses something’ is that each will be BOUND to be affected deeply by such an intimate, devastating act, whatever her outlook or the reasoning behind her decisions.

      Like you, I don’t feel fit to judge, and I suppose in that case, it is my duty (as a fellow human) to ensure that as few lives are lost as possible. That was really the crux of what changed my mind on this, and the point of Mary’s piece (which I linked).

      Your personal perspectives and mine are very much aligned, I think. I definitely think it’s a subject which needs to be given more light, and one which is spoken about in a safe arena, free of judgement or condemnation, because those help no-one.

      I can only hope this piece leads to that kind of discussion, and that in spite of the lack of ‘right’ answers, there might be something to be said for just thinking it through again.

      Like

      • Sadly, I have known several young women, who do not seem to be affected at all… though whether that will remain the case as they get older, no-one can say. I can’t help thinking that it will affect them deeply at levels they do not themselves see as yet. You are right about the need for better education too and discussion is part of that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I really don’t see how something like that *can’t* affect someone, but I think again, a lack of education has a LOT to answer for, and I do feel that there seems to be an agenda for family planning places to NOT use ’emotive’ language like “baby”, rather making everything clinical and less engaging of the heart and mind. It’s easy to dehumanise when you hear terms like ‘pregnancy tissue’ thrown about as if that’s the sum of it.

          Like

  20. Dear Lizzi,
    Never have I read anyone who has taken such a level approach to such a difficult topic and STILL stood by the beliefs in your gut. I’m right with you at each level. I have never believed in abortion, but also abhor the individuals who try to shame women who have chosen it or are considering. You have provided a space for a great discussion on a topic that can quickly escalate into hateful places.

    “Because as much as I am (and always have been) pro, pro, pro LIFE, I’ve also come to realise that there is no good answer to the subject of abortion, and it’s always going to be awful and agonising and used to fight battles, and in the midst of that there are PEOPLE. Female people. Sisters. Daughters. Friends. Who somehow end up in that end-point of considering…and we who aren’t in their shoes, are left to abandon them or support them as best we can.

    They’ve made THEIR choice, whatever the whys and wherefores of it. We can offer our input if they’ll have it, but we don’t have the right or ability to take that choice from them. We CAN help and hope that in that choice, they’re as safe as possible. We CAN take action to make that difference, for love, for compassion, for them.”

    Your kindness, compassion, and bravery always inspire and amaze me, Lizzi.
    Wow! And I get to call you a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwwwh my lovely, I am SO SO SO happy you think I wrote this well, and that you think it’s going to be a point for discussion or a catalyst for thoughts coming together, rather than something which divides. That SO matters to me, because I don’t want to upset anyone, but I’m very aware that my thoughts on this are still probably incomplete, and there will be aspects I haven’t considered.

      BUT. Ack. I just really don’t think there’s a good answer to such a horrific issue, and in the end all I can do is know that until I’ve been in that place, I can’t judge, and as long as I know anyone who IS (or has been) in that place, I need to love first.

      Goodness me, I hope it makes sense, and thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement and your wonderful feedback. And for your glorious friendship ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • You just said it, Lizzi “Until I’ve been in that place, I can’t judge.”
        My religious upbringing left no doubt which “side” we were supposed to be on. But, my spiritual side says to take a step back and consider. You’re an amazing young woman – I can’t think of a better way to address such a difficult and personal subject. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I had a similar upbringing, but it was very strict religion and made me think God was a mean old man waiting to punish us for rule-breaking. Or for things like abortion or being gay or sex outside marriage…and FORTUNATELY a different way of looking at things, a LOT more input in terms of the LOVE of God/Christ, and what that means, and how gracious and all-encompassing it is, has helped, and I no longer think that these things are beyond redemption or (for some things previously condemned) even a thing which needs to be an issue.

          My spiritual side wants everyone to be okay. Or for as many people as possible to be as okay as possible.

          And thank you…your vote of confidence means a HUGE amount to me xXx ❤ ❤ ❤

          Liked by 1 person

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